© Mathilda  Della Torre, 2019

mapping the invisible

A visual essay exploring ways of mapping and recording the Westway Travellers Site in London, the invisible borders that surround it and the invisible passport needed to be let into the community.

Most maps show us where places are and how to get to them. Some maps visualise exactly how places look and what we can expect to see when we get to them. All maps lie to us, through techniques of simplification, displacement, smoothing and abbreviation. All maps chose what information to keep or remove, to select and clarify our surroundings.

 

Some places are kept invisible on maps, they are hidden from us and can only be discovered when stumbling upon them or doing thorough research to and out where they are. What places are kept in the unknown and who makes the selection? What is the criteria? Why don’t we want to acknowledge the existence of these places enough to document their exact location on paper? 

 

I began a process of mapping some of the invisible places missing from London maps where travellers live; as a way of acknowledging the existence of these spaces. 

 

I visited and approached Westway Travellers Site in West London, wanting to collaborate on a project together. It didn’t work, so I started to question myself instead of the members of the community. What invisible border was I trying to cross without realising it? As an outsider, why couldn’t I be let in? What would I have needed to be let in? 

 

The map I created, does not represent the area of land showing the exact placement and physical features of Westway Travellers Site. But instead, it lists all the things I was missing in order to get into that community. It maps out the passport I didn’t have.